Bryce Harper, 20, homered twice to back 24-year-old Stephen Strasburg's seven scoreless innings in Washington's 2-0 opening day victory over Miami.
WASHINGTON — All it took was two at-bats on his first opening day in the majors for Bryce Harper to hit two homers and hear “M-V-P!” chants.
The Washington Nationals’ other recent No. 1 overall draft pick, Stephen Strasburg, did his part, too, getting 19 consecutive outs at one stretch of his seven scoreless innings.
Yes, for the NL East champion Nationals — and their fans who lived through tough times not that long ago — the present and future could hardly have looked brighter on Monday. Their 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins came in Game 1 of a season manager Davey Johnson declared months ago should be defined as “World Series or bust.”
“You couldn’t draw it up any better,” Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “And to have the two youngsters go out, do what they did? … Let Harper and Stras go to work. They didn’t need us.”
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Harper, the 20-year-old left fielder coming off NL Rookie of the Year honors, sprinted around the bases after each of his homers. After his second trip, he climbed back out of the dugout for a curtain call, pumping his right fist.
It was Harper’s first taste of opening day in the majors. He began last season in the minors before getting called up later in April.
“Pretty special moment,” Harper said. “If I was 0 for 4, or 4 for 4, it wouldn’t have mattered to me. Just going out there having some fun on opening day for the first time.”
For Strasburg, 24, it was the start of what should be his first full season in the majors, with zero pitch or inning limits. He was shut down before the stretch run in September 2012 over concern for his arm.
Asked if he could have pitched longer on Monday, Strasburg said: “If it wasn’t opening day and the first start of the year, it would have been a different story.”
• Reds OF Ryan Ludwick dislocated his right shoulder while sliding into third base against the Angels. An MRI is scheduled Tuesday.
• The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run in an opener since Bob Lemon for Cleveland in 1953. The last Dodger pitcher to go deep on opening day was Don Drysdale in 1965.
• All-Star SS Elvis Andrus has reached an agreement on a contract guaranteeing him $120 million over an additional eight seasons through 2022 with the Rangers, said a person familiar with negotiations.
• Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins made his 13th consecutive opening day start, the longest active streak in the majors.
• Retired Braves 3B Chipper Jones threw a ceremonial first-pitch strike in Atlanta. Sandy Koufax, wearing his vintage No. 32 jersey, did the honors at Dodger Stadium. Lou Piniella, former Yankees outfielder and manager, bounced a first pitch to groans from fans at Yankee Stadium.
• Vin Scully, 85, began his 64th season as the Dodgers’ radio voice.
• The Yankees held a pregame tribute to the victims of the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn. All major-league teams were asked to wear uniform patches in remembrance.
• The Mets and Yankees opened at home. The last time two New York teams had home openers on the same day was 1956 (New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers).